Absinthe the legendary alcoholic beverage of nineteenth century Paris is making a stunning comeback and its no surprise that people want to know all they can about absinthe. Absinthe has the distinction of having many nicknames it was called the “Green Fairy”, “Green Muse”, and the “Green Goddess”. What adds to its mystique and aura is its fascinating history and romantic connections to the nineteenth century art scene of Europe. Absinthe’s supposed unique effects and its great taste are also responsible for more and more pleasure seekers wanting to know more about absinthe.
Dr. Pierre Ordinaire a French doctor is credited with creating absinthe for the first time during his stay in Switzerland. The good doctor wanted to create a digestive tonic to treat stomach ailments using wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Wormwood was known for its healing and curative properties since ancient times. The digestive tonic prepared by the good doctor had high alcohol content and an anise flavor.
In the year 1797 Major Dubied realized the potential of absinthe as an alcoholic beverage and bought absinthe recipe from Dr. Ordinaire. Major Dubied then started commercial production of absinthe liquor along with his son-in-law Henri Louis Pernod in the Val de Travers region of Switzerland. Absinthe was beginning to be accepted by people favorably and so Pernod moved production to a bigger facility in Pontarlier, France. Initially the Pernod Fils distillery distilled only 16 liters of absinthe a day but as absinthe’s popularity grew they were soon distilling more than 400 liters of absinthe a day. Absinthe popularity was on a steady ascendance and by the end of nineteenth century France alone consumed more than 2 million liters of absinthe a year.
France was one place where absinthe’s popularity was the greatest and it was loved by both the aristocracy and the common public. The bohemian culture of nineteenth century France embraced absinthe and many a great painters, writers and intellectuals routinely reached out for a glass of the green fairy. Some famous names included Vincent Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. By 1870 absinthe popularity was at an all time high and it was common for people to begin their day with a glass of absinthe and end their day with more than one glass of absinthe. Absinthe brought about a unique democratization of European society; it was loved by bankers, musicians, butchers, laborers, artists and women. Absinthe drink was prepared using an elaborate ritual and special absinthe spoons, absinthe glasses, absinthe fountains were used in this ritual.
The amazing popularity enjoyed by absinthe eventually caused its downfall. The temperance movement and the anti alcohol lobby pressed hard for its ban. Absinthe was blamed for “absinthism” a mental condition characterized by violent behavior and madness. The wine industry of nineteenth century, already reeling due to absinthe’s popularity, supported the ban calls and lobbied hard with several governments in Europe. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century most countries in Western Europe had banned absinthe. Only Spain, the Czech lands (Bohemia, Czech Silesia, and Moravia) and the United Kingdom did not ban absinthe.
Absinthe remained banned in the United States and several European countries for most of the twentieth century; however, in the light of new discoveries at the end of twentieth century that conclusively proved that absinthe did not contain harmful levels of mind bending substances like thujone, most countries legalized absinthe once again.
Unfortunately, absinthe is still considered illegal in the United States; only a watered down version of absinthe is permitted to be produced and sold in the US. The good news is that US citizens can still buy absinthe online from non-US producers or better still order absinthe kits and absinthe essence and make their very own absinthe at home. These absinthe essences are made using traditional absinthe recipes. 20 ml of absinthe essence is mixed with 730 ml of vodka or Everclear or any other neutral spirit to prepare 750 ml of absinthe.
There are several websites from where you can order your absinthe, absinthe kits, absinthe essence and other absinthe accessories. The most trusted and reputed name is absinthekit.com. Absinthekit.com offers some of the best deals available on the internet for several types of genuine absinthe essence, and other absinthe accessories.